Japanese town demands pants for ‘David’ statue

AFP, TOKYO

Thu, Feb 07, 2013 - Page 6

A replica of Michelangelo’s Renaissance sculpture David that was erected suddenly last summer is unnerving residents of a Japanese town, with some calling for the naked masterpiece to be given underpants.

Okuizumo town in western Shimane Prefecture received 5m replicas of David and of Greek treasure the Venus de Milo as donations from a businessman who hails from the area.

The statues were put up in a large public park that also includes a full-size running track, a baseball stadium, tennis courts, a mountain bike course and a play area with apparatus for children.

“Some people have told the town’s legislators that toddlers are afraid of the statues because they are so big and they appeared unexpectedly over the summer,” town official Yoji Morinaga told reporters.

“They are statues of unclothed humans, and such pieces of art work are very rare in our area. Some people apparently said the statues might not be good for their children,” he said.

While many locals have welcomed the new cultural additions to the mountainside town of fewer than 15,000 residents, some have asked for David to wear underwear to preserve his modesty, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

“It is the first time we have had anything like this in our town. Perhaps people were perplexed,” Morinaga said.

The town believes over time residents will come to appreciate the value of the sculptures, which could be useful in school art classes and may one day become a sightseeing attraction, he said.

The original David is housed in the Accademia di Belle Arti, in Florence, Italy. The Louvre in Paris is home to the armless Venus de Milo, which stands a little over 2m tall.